Conversation with Sarah Huckabee Sanders CSPAN September 2, 2017 2:02pm-2:25pm EDT
i hope we continue to go the extra mile. to see if we can find ways to differencess across and develop more consensus and you think might exist. >> for more with supreme court justice elena kagan including her career and the influence of former justice sandra day o'connor. is another c-span profile interview. this one with sarah huckabee sanders who is now white house press secretary. what was it like growing up in such a political family? >> most days it was incredible. i was a political junkie from an early age and i got a front row
seat is something i love to be a part of an better than that i had the chance to do something i love and do that with my dad and i cannot think of a better experience growing up and to me it was a privilege and an honor. something that helped prepare me for life that i am living right now. host: you were 11 or 12 when he was running for governor? sandra: the first time he ran for office i was nine years old. when most kids were going to summer camp i was doing the festival circuit passing out cards and shaking hands and tagging along with my dad to every nook and cranny in the state of arkansas. host: why did he pursue a career in politics? sandra: he felt like he had something to offer. arkansas was a democrat state when he was first elected to statewide office, 1993 he won his first office. almost 90% of all officials in the state, from county judges to
the governor were democrats. he didn't feel like they represented him. he is been the head of a large organization and had a base of support through that and felt like it was time for him to get off the bench and get in the game and make a difference. host: the political demographics have changed in arkansas? why'd you think that is? sandra: in large part, the democratic party that my grandparents grew up a part of is not the democratic party of today. , youcularly in the south had southern democrats that were very different than the democrat party today. not nearly as far left. these were people that were smaller, cared about a localized government and that is not the case at this point. host: you have a two older brothers? sandra: i am the youngest and the only girl. they might claim that i am
spoiled and i probably wouldn't be able to refute that. host: are you spoiled? sandra: probably a little bit but don't tell everybody. host: were they interested in politics? sandra: my older brother is more behind the scenes engaged. he is incredibly smart. a complete historian when it comes to political history, particularly arkansas history. my other brother, david, loves politics but he is also a very savvy businessperson. he was more of an entrepreneur . host: we learned that your dad is quite a musician. sandra: i think he was disappointed that the only instrument me and my brothers played was the radio. i am not sure we did that quite well. he is an incredible musician. it is what gave him to -- he grew up shy.
the first time he stepped on stage in front of a crowd was as a guitar player. that is what gave him the confidence to carry on. he credits music with the majority of his success early on. host: are you more like your father or mother? sandra: i like to think i am a good mix of both. my dad is not as spontaneous so i get that more from my mom. the ability to do what i am doing now, probably a mix of both but certainly got to see a lot of that on the front row watching my dad growing up and being part of his campaigns. host: walk us through your own process from being nine years old going to events with your father to being a campaign staffer when he ran for governor to reelection to his own field -- his own presidential election bid? some kids were watching cartoons i was
listening to pollsters give crosstabs on the current situation of the u.s. senate. early andby the bug wanted to soak up as much as i could. and i am a be a nerd in that sense. i went to the conferences and loved the campaign aspect. in large part due to the pace of it and that no two days were alike. so i enjoyed that, went to college, started often political science and physics and learned that physics was not going to be the path i took so i jot that. i added communications. it put me, it continued that path and i moved to washington dc after college and work or president bush and his administration. then i worked for my dad and
helped run his campaign for president around 2006. i spent a good bit of time in iowa and ran the iowa operations for the 2008 campaign. then i ran john bozeman's race in arkansas. and the long list of other people. eventually, landed here. that you did not like the iowa winters? sandra: i think it is my southern blood. i am far more southern than i am anything else. i love the people of iowa but not the temperatures. host: having worked for candidates and then having your father run for president, what is the difference? is it a blessing or curse to have your dad as a candidate? sandra: both. you have an instant ability to
have conversations from day one with a candidate that you will not have with someone you don't have that type of relationship with. i was able to say yes and no and push back more aggressively than you might with another candidate. a betterng understanding of what they would like, what they don't like, what they do, i could look at the schedule and know instantly if it was something he would like or if there were things we needed to change to make it better and more productive and fit his personality better. that was an advantage. the disadvantage is, you know a lot of those things. .e knows that you know he is not going to like that and wants to know why you did it anyway. the advantages certainly outweigh the disadvantages. host: where did you go to college? sandra: a baptist university in arkansas. host: a small school.
why there? sandra: i looked everywhere but there and swore i would never go but a couple months before i was set to leave for college and enrolled in a large university, i changed my mind last minute. it turned out to be a good decision. for another worked campaign, you work in ohio in 2004 for the bush campaign? sandra: they deployed quite a few people. i went as a field rep. i stood on street corners doing , thousands ofdoor phone calls during that time. ohio turned out to be an important state for him during that election so it was exciting. host: how do you define politics? isdra: the basis of it
communicating a candidate's agenda with the people. there is a better political science definition but when it comes down to it, it is about official -- elected taking the candidate or official and figuring out how to work best with the community. find out what they want and how to achieve it. say tohen did you yourself, i am going to work for donald trump? sandra: pretty quickly after my dad got out of the race. campaign, i noticed similarities in the rhetoric between my dad and donald trump. my dad is an economic populist. loved abouthings i my dad's even though he had been in politics he was an outsider to washington. i felt like that was something we needed. i saw that same thing in donald trump even when my dad was still in the race. after he got out, i moved
quickly to get on board with president trump. i felt like he was the right person to shake up washington but i also thought he could win. i wanted to be a part of that. host: what did you see that a lot of people did not see? media, pundits, gop establishment, thinking, this guy won't win -- what did you see? sandra: i spent the better part of a year and a half on the campaign trail with my dad talking to people everywhere in between and they were hungry for change. hungry for someone to come in and shake up washington. they wanted to burn the place down. wey weren't as focused as learned through my dad's campaign. they were less interested in the buildup. they just wanted a massive disruption. i saw that every single day on
the campaign trail whether you were at a fundraiser, a state fair, or the taxi driver taking you from point a to point b. this was something that the country was hungry for and donald trump cap into it. host: did you talk to your dad before signing up? what did he tell you? sandra: go for it. he has always been supportive. i talked to my dad and mom, and my husband who plays a big role and would need to be fully on board. i did that. i talked to people on the trump campaign manager was an easy decision. host: let's talk about your husband, brian. how did you meet? sandra: we met in iowa on the campaign trail in 2007. he was unfortunately working for another candidate. city and wasansas working for a senator.
runningy dad were against each other but we met in iowa when brian came back. volunteer for my dad over christmas break. he met and he joined the campaign a month later, and knew the end, we started dating. there rearm, three kids later. host: he understands life in politics? sandra: i couldn't ask for someone more supportive. he understands the nature of the business. also, he is a great person in terms of message development and he is a pollster so he is good at helping me in the day-to-day my dad of, whether for or now, figuring out the best ways to communicate. host: three young children. their names? sandra: scarlet, huck, and
george. host: do they understand what mom does? sandra: they have been to the white house and they know what the president does and who he is. they also know that what i do is neat but i don't think they fully understand. they are 5, 3, and two. they don't fully comprehend the magnitude of the presidency and the historic nature of getting to be a part of that. i do think they are excited to be in washington dc. we moved to three month ago and they love the city. host: you were quoted as praising president obama because of the values he had as a father and husband. what were you referring to? sandra: i don't disagree with president obama on most of all his policies. i am sure there are a few we could agree on. i think he showed that his
children and family were a priority to him. i think that is important, not just as a president but as a man this day and age but to have someone who makes his children and wife a focal point and priority of his life and i think that is something we should recognize and commend him for doing. traveling around the country have you seen a lot of broken homes? would be hard for anyone in this country not to have seen it. i have friends and family who have experienced it. i know how much harder it is for kids to be successful. they certainly can and some of the most amazing people i know are single parents or children that have been raised by single parents. my mom being one of them. also, there are more hardships that go with that. a two parent home is always better and makes life easier for the kids. host: your mom was raised by a single parent?
what did she see from that? sandra: my grandmother was one of the strongest people i have ever known and she raised six kids on her own. they were a wild bunch. determinationhat and hard work and a love of family can conquer most anything. she had that. i also know that life is harder because of it. i don't think that makes her any less of a person. that made her a better person and a better mom probably but i wish she had had a greater level of support so she didn't have to do that on her own. host: you now have a visible position being press secretary but you have been behind the scenes as well. any desire to seek elected office? sandra: right now i just want the job i have and do the best i can to help the president and his agenda and be part of history. i am pretty focused on where i
am and not looking to change that soon. host: is it different now that you are on the inside versus working on a campaign? sandra: certainly. a campaign versus elected office are different. now you are putting into place all of the things you spent the last several months talking about. now it is based more on action than rhetoric. president trump will be successful in that he is an executive who is focused on results. we have seen that over the first hundred days. we will continue to see someone who is a strong leader, a decisive leader and someone who takes strong and bold action. host: you see the private donald trump as well as the public. is there a difference? sandra: i don't think so. i think that is why people love him. that is why he is president. he is as real as you can get. he is the same on stage or behind closed doors and people find that appealing.
like what he says or how he says it but they like that he is who he is. real and transparent. host: walk us through a typical day for sarah huckabee sanders? sandra: it usually starts pretty early around 5 a.m. i only have one early riser, huck, i usually visit with him before i leave and get to the office early enough to read to read through and catch up on any news that took place before i went to bed. then we start with staff meetings around 7:15 a.m. talking about the news of the wantprepping for what we the message of the day to look like and responding to stories that may be coming up. from there, every day is different than the one before which is one of the reasons i love what we do. are like and every day presents new challenges.
and gives us a new way to be part of the administration. host: and you get home when? sandra: it varies. 7:00 to 10:00 at night. job, as you take on this how do you approach the job of deputy press secretary? relations with the media in general? , to try to same way do that the same way i would any other relationship. i grew up in the south. being hospitable is something that i think was ingrained in me at an early age and something i try to take into my workplace. even if we disagree i try to be diplomatic and gracious. sometimes we have to be aggressive and push back but i tried to do that in a way that is polite. but also strong and not week.
host: if sean takes a vacation will you be behind the podium? sandra: that is a better question for sean. host: how would you approach that? if you are asked to brief the press? sandra: i have done a couple off camera gaggles already. the way i tried to approach every question, to be honest and truthful, and do the best i can to communicate the president message and his agenda to the american people. promote the president and his message and his agenda and that is what we try to do every day whether one-on-one or in a large group or behind closed doors. that is part of our job. host: let's talk about some of the people. the best advice your dad has ever given you? sandra: be yourself. don't be someone you are not. go into everything as full as
you can, who you are. not try to be anyone different. host: your mom? sandra: she tells me to take chances. not to be afraid. my mom is a little bit on the daredevil side. she helps push me out of my comfort zone more than some. host: your husband? sandra: never forget that i have a family at home, no matter what happens in the office, i have a family that loves me and supports me no matter what. host: your children? are young,ce they they come up with some good whoppers, some of which i will not share. hopefully i can approach things the way they do. and innocence. my oldest is five. they take everything in, in a
spectacular way. to watch things through the eyes of kids is amazing. to try to do that and do that with them is special. host: president trump? sandra: i think that would be, be strong. he is a leader of great strength. he has shown that in his first days in office and in the conversations we have had one-on-one and any direction he has given and how to respond whether to the press or anything else is to be strong. host: do you remember your first visit to the white house? sandra: i do. i was young but i don't remember everything about it. my first visit to the white house would have been outside the gates looking in versus from the inside. the first time i got to come inside it was not until when my dad was governor. i was older. ,ost: right now you have a seat
a front row seat to history in the west wing. what is it like everyday? sandra: incredible. i hope every day we walk into that building and are honored to be there. if we ever forget how special it is to be there and part of this then we know it is time to go home and let someone else take our seats. right now the biggest thing i could say is it is the honor of a lifetime to be here, be part of history and be part of president trump toss administration. host: your parents, have they been here? sandra: they were here a few days ago. few meetings at the white house and i got a chance to show them my office and have lunch with them. they were very proud. host: what did they tell you? sandra: keep up the good work and hang in there. host: thank you for your time. sandra: thank you. >>